Skip to content

Research project

DEMOS - Democracy and its discontents. A historical examination of the current predicament of democracy

There is a broad consensus on the fact that modern democracies are facing today major difficulties if not a profound crisis. That they are confronted with immense challenges, domestic and global, that test their legitimacy, erode their foundations and even threaten their very survival. On this crisis we have a rich multidisciplinary scholarship, which has thoroughly identified and dissected some of its key drivers and manifestations: the link between inequality and the contestation of democracy; the roots and nature of the current populist and anti-systemic challenges; there definition of national identities and the loosening of the ethnic and linguistic homogeneity of many nation-states; the interdependence between democratic nation-states and the global context, just to mention a few for illustration. However, some of the loudest voices articulating and examining these elements tend to project their analysis of data and examples from the contemporary loosely onto the past. We believe that such studies – important and often enlightening as they certainly are - must be complemented by a thorough historical investigation capable of defining a genealogy of the current democratic malaise, identifying illustrative historical antecedents to be compared, diachronically and geographically, to this latest predicament of democracy.

External Partners

Go back to top of the page